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This program is organized by Duke faculty/staff in collaboration with DukeEngage. 

Program Dates

June 12 - August 7

Service Focus

Partnering with NGOs that focus on social and environmental justice; community development; and other issues critical to communities established as the result of Apartheid. 

Program Leader 

, Director of Policy Initiatives, Duke Center for Child and Family Policy; Lecturer, Sanford School of Public Policy.


Coursework: none. However, preference may be given to students who demonstrate knowledge and understanding of South African history and culture, as well as knowledge and understanding of the non-profit sector in the U.S. or abroad. 

Program Scope

Students live and spend most of their time in Wentworth, about a 15-minute drive from Durban city centre.  Students are matched with organizations working to improve the economic, environmental, educational and overall living conditions for residents of Wentworth, a community that was established as the result of apartheid. The program includes opportunities to learn about the experience and impact of apartheid from NGO leaders, homestay hosts and others.

Students immerse themselves in multiple meaningful efforts and activities—meaningful with regard to the students’ world view, educational development and personal growth and meaningful in terms of the contributions the students can make.

There are partial and full-day excursions in the Durban area and an overnight trip (2-3 nights) to Mnweni, a rural community in the Drakensberg, an area of the KwaZulu-Natal province.  Mnweni residents run a cultural tourism and economic development center where students stay in traditional rondavels and have the opportunity for a homestay with a local family.

Throughout the program, students observe the impact of government policy on on-the-ground service delivery. They interact with individuals and organizations directly involved with “the struggle” (as the effort to abolish apartheid was and still is called). 

The program seeks students who are interested in direct services as well as in the government, policy, and power systems that require, fund, and otherwise influence those services. 

Service Opportunities:

Following are possible placement options. One or more sites listed here may have more than one student and one or more sites may not have any students. See additional site information below at "Placement Information."

·     Assegai Primary School

·     Durban South Skills Development

·     Isiaiah 54 Children’s Home

·     Keep a Child Alive - Blue Roof Clinic

·     South Durban Basin Area Based Management 

·     South Durban Community Environmental Alliance

·     St. Monica Children’s Home

·     Victim Friendly Centre and Community Resource Center 

Through the organizations above, students work on a range of challenges, including but not limited to:

·     Capacity building for non-governmental organizations

·     Child welfare

·     Community economic development

·     Domestic violence

·     Primary (Elementary) Education (a range of subjects)

·     Environmental advocacy, education, law and policy

·     Public health / health education

·     Youth development, including academic and life skills

To see this program profile in its entirety, please access the PDF document in the column to the right.  

  • DukeEngage in South Africa-Durban 2015
  • The PDF above details the DukeEngage in South Africa-Durban program in its entirety. All program details, including program dates, are subject to change leading up to the point of departure.   

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  • DukeEngage Durban Book List
  • DukeEngage Durban Book List

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